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How to Stream Network TV Shows and Movies to Your iPhone or iPad for Free

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In this article best-selling author and avid iPhone/iPad user Jason R. Rich explains your options when it comes to watching television show episodes and/or movies on your iPhone or iPad. As you’ll discover, you can watch the latest TV show episodes from popular series for free, if your iOS device has constant Internet access and you install the right app(s).
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When it comes to providing entertainment, your Apple iPhone or iPad has extensive capabilities, thanks in part to the incredible array of content that can be purchased (or rented) from Apple’s own iTunes service. This includes music, TV show episodes, and movies.

By purchasing content from iTunes, not only are you able to enjoy it as often as you’d like because you own it, that content is automatically stored on your iCloud account and made accessible to be experienced using all of your computers, iOS mobile devices, and your Apple TV, without having to repurchase the same content repeatedly.

Content that’s purchased from iTunes also gets stored on the hard drive or within the internal storage of whichever computer or device it’s being experienced on. So, once a song, album, TV show episode, or movie is stored on an iPhone or iPad, for example, an Internet connection is not required to listen to or view that content. The Videos app that comes preinstalled on your iOS device is used to watch video content acquired from iTunes.

The content you purchase from iTunes is paid for. In addition to paid content, iTunes also offers some free content, as well as movies that can be rented. However, the free content also gets stored on your iOS device or computer, as do rented movies (until the rental period expires).

Watch TV Shows and Movies for Free

If you want to watch network TV shows or movies on your phone or tablet, you have several additional options beyond what’s offered by iTunes. For example, a growing number of cable service providers, including XFINITY TV (Comcast), Cox, AT&T, Verizon, and DirectTV, now offer iPhone and/or iPad apps that allow you to watch TV shows and movies on an on-demand basis, for free, as long as you’re a paid cable television subscriber.

In addition, a growing number of individual television networks and cable channels also have their own proprietary iPhone and/or iPad apps that allow viewers to stream on-demand television shows and movies.

Some of the more popular apps for this purpose that are currently available for free from the App Store include:

  • ABC Player: Used for streaming programming from the ABC Television Network.
  • CNN for iPad: Used for streaming live and pre-recorded news programming from CNN.
  • HBOGo: Available to paid subscribers of HBO and used for streaming any HBO cable programming on-demand.
  • MAXGo: Available to paid subscribers of Cinemax and used for streaming Cinemax cable programming.
  • NBC: Used for streaming programming from the NBC Television Network.
  • PBS for iPad: Used for streaming prime-time programming from Public Broadcasting Service, as well as PBS NewsHour segments.
  • Sho Anytime: Available to paid subscribers of Showtime for streaming Showtime programming, including movies and original series.
  • USA Anywhere: Used for streaming programming from the USA cable network.

These and other apps like them (including apps offered by local TV network affiliates in various U.S. cities) allow television viewers to watch full-length episodes of current TV shows, as well as movies that are currently airing on the respective television or cable network.

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